Welcome To Street Sheet

It's the word on the street

DA Candidates Face Off

1 Comment


In September, we wrote, e-mailed, and called all five candidates for the District Attorney’s Office in order to ask them seven simple questions about their positions and plans for office, should they be elected. After two rounds of reminder calls and e-mails, we have been able to hear from two of the candidates: Bill Fazio and David Onek. Their answers to our questions are below:

BILL FAZIO

Do you plan to prosecute citations of the sit/lie law?

No.

Do you plan to maintain a presence in Traffic Court to prosecute “quality of life” infractions?

Perhaps, depends on each case.

Do you endorse the “Broken Windows” theory of policing and prosecution?

Under certain circumstances.

Are there circumstances under which you would seek the death penalty?

No, never.

Will you release the results of District Attorney’s Office criminal liability investigations in officer-involved shootings?

Unless prohibited by law.

Do you support the opening of a Safe Injection Site or sites in San Francisco?

Do not know enough facts.

What do you believe should be the role of the District Attorney’s Office in addressing homelessness?

Homeless is not a crime. Homelessness is NOT a crime.

DAVID ONEK

Do you plan to prosecute citations of the sit/lie law?

No. I voted against Sit/Lie. I think it was a political solution to a public safety problem and was extremely divisive, with no proven safety benefit. We would have been better off using all the time, money, and resources that went into the ballot fight bringing people together to find collaborative solutions to the issues Sit/Lie intended to address. As DA, I will not prosecute people criminally under the Sit/Lie law. If more serious crimes are being committed by people violating Sit/Lie, they should be charged as such; minor infractions should be handled in alternative ways and not clog up our already overburdened court system. Simply put, we should focus our resources on serious and violent crimes.

Do you plan to maintain a presence in Traffic Court to prosecute “quality of life” infractions?

No, not for “quality of life” infractions. I will assess the effectiveness of all the alternative courts that handle quality of life infractions, taking into account community input. I will focus our resources on serious and violent crimes.

Do you endorse the “Broken Windows” theory of policing and prosecution?

No. The “Broken Windows” theory of policing and prosecuting shifts focus away from the serious and violent offenses we should be prioritizing with our time and resources to keep us safer.

Are there circumstances under which you would seek the death penalty?

No. I will not seek the death penalty under any circumstance. I have consistently and unequivocally opposed the death penalty throughout my campaign, and throughout my career. The death penalty does not make us safer, it is not cost effective, and it is not fair and equitable.

Will you release the results of District Attorney’s Office criminal liability investigations in officer-involved shootings?

Yes. I will issue a very detailed report in every officer-involved shooting case and make the report publicly available on our website. The report will detail the facts, the law and the investigation results. Building trust with the community is the key to enhancing public safety, and transparency in officer-involved shootings is crucial to building that trust.

Do you support the opening of a Safe Injection Site or sites in San Francisco?

Yes. Data show that safe injection sites reduce harm and make our communities safer.

What do you believe should be the role of the District Attorney’s Office in addressing homelessness?

The District Attorney’s office must work collaboratively with other city agencies and, crucially, with community-based organizations to address homelessness. Homelessness is not a crime and the District Attorney cannot solve the homelessness problem with a law enforcement-based approach. As DA, I will work to make San Francisco safer and fairer by partnering with city agencies such as the Department of Public Health and the Human Services Agency and with community agencies throughout the city on homelessness issues.

WHERE’S THE INCUMBENT?

It was tremendously disappointing that the appointed incumbent, George Gascón, did not see fit to respond to the questionnaire. Mr. Gascón has been dismissive of poor people’s concerns since he first arrived in San Francisco two years ago as our appointed Chief of Police. Gascón, a long-time Republican and supporter of the death penalty, was instrumental in the passage of San Francisco’s anti-homeless sit/lie law. As District Attorney, in a time when budget cuts have led to a decrease in the number of attorneys prosecuting felonies, Mr. Gascón has continued that office’s practice of prosecuting homeless people for infraction violations in Traffic Court, while failing to prosecute other infraction violators. In running for office, he left the Republican Party to register as a Democrat—probably a smart move in predominantly Democratic San Francisco. Since announcing his candidacy, Mr. Gascón has also renounced his former support for the death penalty. It would have been nice to find out if he’s had a similar about-face on anti-homeless legislation.

BILL FAZIO

Do you plan to prosecute citations of the sit/lie law?

No.

Do you plan to maintain a presence in Traffic Court to prosecute “quality of life” infractions?

Perhaps, depends on each case.

Do you endorse the “Broken Windows” theory of policing and prosecution?

Under certain circumstances.

Are there circumstances under which you would seek the death penalty?

No, never.

Will you release the results of District Attorney’s Office criminal liability investigations in officer-involved shootings?

Unless prohibited by law.

Do you support the opening of a Safe Injection Site or sites in San Francisco?

Do not know enough facts.

What do you believe should be the role of the District Attorney’s Office in addressing homelessness?

Homeless is not a crime. Homelessness is NOT a crime.

DAVID ONEK

Do you plan to prosecute citations of the sit/lie law?

No. I voted against Sit/Lie. I think it was a political solution to a public safety problem and was extremely divisive, with no proven safety benefit. We would have been better off using all the time, money, and resources that went into the ballot fight bringing people together to find collaborative solutions to the issues Sit/Lie intended to address. As DA, I will not prosecute people criminally under the Sit/Lie law. If more serious crimes are being committed by people violating Sit/Lie, they should be charged as such; minor infractions should be handled in alternative ways and not clog up our already overburdened court system. Simply put, we should focus our resources on serious and violent crimes.

Do you plan to maintain a presence in Traffic Court to prosecute “quality of life” infractions?

No, not for “quality of life” infractions. I will assess the effectiveness of all the alternative courts that handle quality of life infractions, taking into account community input. I will focus our resources on serious and violent crimes.

Do you endorse the “Broken Windows” theory of policing and prosecution?

No. The “Broken Windows” theory of policing and prosecuting shifts focus away from the serious and violent offenses we should be prioritizing with our time and resources to keep us safer.

Are there circumstances under which you would seek the death penalty?

No. I will not seek the death penalty under any circumstance. I have consistently and unequivocally opposed the death penalty throughout my campaign, and throughout my career. The death penalty does not make us safer, it is not cost effective, and it is not fair and equitable.

Will you release the results of District Attorney’s Office criminal liability investigations in officer-involved shootings?

Yes. I will issue a very detailed report in every officer-involved shooting case and make the report publicly available on our website. The report will detail the facts, the law and the investigation results. Building trust with the community is the key to enhancing public safety, and transparency in officer-involved shootings is crucial to building that trust.

Do you support the opening of a Safe Injection Site or sites in San Francisco?

Yes. Data show that safe injection sites reduce harm and make our communities safer.

What do you believe should be the role of the District Attorney’s Office in addressing homelessness?

The District Attorney’s office must work collaboratively with other city agencies and, crucially, with community-based organizations to address homelessness. Homelessness is not a crime and the District Attorney cannot solve the homelessness problem with a law enforcement-based approach. As DA, I will work to make San Francisco safer and fairer by partnering with city agencies such as the Department of Public Health and the Human Services Agency and with community agencies throughout the city on homelessness issues.

WHERE’S THE INCUMBENT?

It was tremendously disappointing that the appointed incumbent, George Gascón, did not see fit to respond to the questionnaire. Mr. Gascón has been dismissive of poor people’s concerns since he first arrived in San Francisco two years ago as our appointed Chief of Police. Gascón, a long-time Republican and supporter of the death penalty, was instrumental in the passage of San Francisco’s anti-homeless sit/lie law. As District Attorney, in a time when budget cuts have led to a decrease in the number of attorneys prosecuting felonies, Mr. Gascón has continued that office’s practice of prosecuting homeless people for infraction violations in Traffic Court, while failing to prosecute other infraction violators. In running for office, he left the Republican Party to register as a Democrat—probably a smart move in predominantly Democratic San Francisco. Since announcing his candidacy, Mr. Gascón has also renounced his former support for the death penalty. It would have been nice to find out if he’s had a similar about-face on anti-homeless legislation.

Advertisements

Author: Street Sheet Editor

The STREET SHEET is the oldest continuously published street news paper in the United States. Organizationally, it is the public education and outreach tool of the Coalition on Homelessness. Every month, the STREET SHEET reaches 32,000 readers through over 200 homeless or low-income vendors. Our vendors are charged nothing for the papers they receive, and keep all money they earn through STREET SHEET distribution.

One thought on “DA Candidates Face Off

  1. Pingback: Yet Another Offensive Aspect of “Homeless Hotspots” | twoangstroms

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s